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What to do if ... you have plantar fasciitis

Has soreness or pain in your foot put a damper on your summer activity plans? Plantar fasciitis may be the culprit. Timothy McConn, D.P.M., FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon with Utica Park Clinic, shares tips on how to deal with this foot ailment. 

What exactly is plantar fasciitis? 

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of a ligament that attaches from the bottom of the foot to the bottom of the heel, blending into the soft tissues of the ball of the foot. The plantar fascia helps to support the arch and maintain soft tissue support to the bottom of the foot.

What are some possible signs or symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

The most common symptoms are pain with the first few steps in the morning when getting up or after periods of rest, such as your lunch break, resting after a walk, etc. Plantar fasciitis most commonly is painful on the inside and bottom of the heel but can extend to the arch area. A heel spur (bony growth) associated with plantar fasciitis is not the source of the pain.

• What should a person initially do if they suspect they have plantar fasciitis?

Recommendations include performing calf stretches, icing the heel, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and supportive running or walking shoes.

• What should a person NOT do if they believe they have plantar fasciitis?

Pushing through significant pain with high-level exercise like running or jumping could result in a partial or complete rupture of the plantar fascia.

• Are there ways to prevent or at least decrease the chances of getting plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is most common with a tight calf muscle and Achilles tendon, which ultimately leads to a tight plantar fascia. Maintaining flexibility though stretching, yoga, foam rolling, etc. can help decrease and prevent episodes.

If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis and need additional care, please call 918-579-2300 (Tulsa or Owasso) or 918-574-0220 (south Tulsa) to make an appointment.